Scorecard or Mirror? Teaching Children to Love Jesus Boldly

children sharing the gospel

Flashback to the past decades. It was an age of dos and don’ts. Do check the right boxes. Do bring a tithe. Do come to Sunday School. Do read the Bible. Do invite others. Don’t miss church, and so on. Every Sunday morning had its envelope with the checklist printed neatly on the front like a scorecard of Christianity. That was the past—the way many of us grew up understanding church.

The same checklists are appalling to today’s postmodern-era children. A checklist does not gauge a relationship with Christ. Wouldn't we rather our children see Jesus when they look at us instead of a completed checklist?

Postmoderns Value What They See Lived Out Authentically.

Instead of living for a perfect scorecard, living in pursuit of holiness and in the image of Jesus will speak to our children, grandchildren, and our world. The Christ-following life is not about competing with others for perfection but is a growth process and journey toward holiness. First Peter 1:14–16 reminds us of the importance of holiness: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Jesus Was Holy.

He wants us to seek to be holy, too. When we seek holiness, we mirror Christ to our children. It is a learning process passed down through daily living like Christ. What does this look like in practical terms? We start with ourselves; we cannot teach what we do not know. We need to learn to

  • make wise, godly decisions that reflect Jesus to the world;
  • value others, no matter their status, as Jesus did;
  • crave studying the Bible for the insights into daily Christ-like living;
  • pray without ceasing;
  • not just talk about Jesus but know Him through studying the Bible;
  • apply biblical truths to everyday living, which means sometimes making sacrifices in order to do the right thing; and
  • live a missional lifestyle of reaching out to share Christ with others.

How Do We Teach What We Have Learned to Our Children?

  • Stop in the midst of a teachable moment to share biblical truths.
  • Pray with our children.
  • Study God’s Word with our children.
  • Exhibit holiness, even when we are driving, facing confrontation, standing in a long line at the grocery store, or sitting at the ball field.
  • Exemplify a growing relationship with Christ.

When we mirror Christ’s holiness to children, we see them courageously step out to change the world. We see them sharing the gospel rather than trying for a perfect score on a checklist. Their passion is contagious, we become challenged by the boldness of their relationship with Christ to throw away any lingering scorecards we are holding on to and live pursuing Christ.

Deb Douglas grandparents three postmoderns as she serves in Bossier City, Louisiana.


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